Saturday| July 8, 2017
Some local politicians, an NBI director, a lawyer, and a number of businessmen from Catanduanes were charged on Wednesday, July 5, before the prosecution office of the Philippine National Police - Bicol (PNP Bicol) after being implicated in the drug trade and the operations of a shabu laboratory.
The following were charged:
NBI Director Atty. Augusto Eric C. Isidoro alias “Tay Eric”
Angelica Balmadrid Isidoro, common law wife of Augusto Isidoro
Atty. Ulpiano Sarmiento
Jardin Brian B. Wong, aka. Bobong Wong
Joseph Al Randie B. Wong alias Tiptip Wong
Constantino Huit Cordial, Jr
a certain Mr. Lee
Allan Ang Hung
Xian Xian Wang
Noel Sampag alias Bert
The following were also charged as accessories to the drug trade operations:
Jayson Gonzales Uy
Paolo Wee Palison
Lorenzo Floree Pinera alias Kidot
Phung Yuan Estorco
Sheng Wang Tore
and John and Peter Does
The filing of the case was made at PNP Bicol, a few days before Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe, the PNP Bicol regional director, steps down from his post on July 10.
Buenafe uncovered the "mega shabu laboratory" in Catanduanes on November 26, 2016.
Buenafe said the killing of Larry Que, a neophyte publisher of Catanduanes News Now, last December 19, 2016 was likely due to a story published on the paper regarding shabu laboratory operations had taken place since 2015, according to Ernesto Tabor, the PNP's new witness.
Buenafe, quoting Tabor, said Larry Que was part of the operations of mega shabu laboratory found Barangay Palta Small in Virac town.
“Our witness is very credible. He was part of the operation where Larry Que is his compadre and a partner in illegal drug trade distribution as part of their contract. That’s why when he (Larry Que) was killed, Tabor is afraid of his life and might be the next target. This is the reason why he came out to expose what he knew in the mega shabu laboratory operations in Catanduanes,” Buenafe said in an interview here.
Buenafe added, based on new developments in the case, the shabu laboratory began operating in 2015 and produced at least 300 kilos of the drug a day. This was equivalent to P1.5 billion in street value.
The production was distributed to Bicol and to Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, he said.
Earlier, Chief Supt. Melvin Buenafe filed charges against Lawrence Flores Pinera, caretaker of the shabu facility in Virac, Catanduanes for violation of Republic Act 9165.
Uncovering the laboratory
On November 26, 2016, PNP Bicol found the shabu laboratory in Barangay Palta Small, Virac town.
The laboratory was located on the property of Angelica Balmadrid, common-law wife of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Eric Isidoro. Isidoro was head of the NBI’s anti-drug unit during the time of Justice Secretary and now-Senator Leila de Lima.
The warehouse is leased to a certain Jason Uy, alias “Paulo Uy."
The shabu laboratory was found with six hydrogenators, 329 kilos of ephedrine hydrochloride and other materials for making shabu.
It was said to be the biggest shabu factory in the region but was only uncovered during President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.
Jardin Brian B. Wong, alias “Boboy Wong,” is the son of former Governor Cely Wong. He replaced his mother in a gubernatorial bid in 2016 but lost to governor Joseph Cua. Boboy Wong is reportedly the financier of the mega shabu laboratory, while NBI director Isidoro is the mastermind, according to the witness.
Joseph Al Randie B. Wong alias “Tiptip Wong,” is the former Mayor of Pandan and concurrent incumbent provincial board member of Catanduanes.
Former Mayor Constantino Huit Cordial, Jr., of Caramoan, Camarines Sur, reportedly allowed the use of his speedboat to transport three drums of shabu chemicals to the shore of Bargangay Codon, San Andres, Catanduanes is said to have traded and received supply of shabu produced at the laboratory in Palta Small, Virac. The trade contained at least two kilos per month, covering the period from September 2015 to August 2016.
Another prominent personality implicated was Snooky Imperial. Imperial traded two kilos of shabu from Ernesto B. Tabor, Jr, and is reportedly the former provincial board member of Albay and son of former solon Carlos Imperial.